It's election year in the US and the spin is getting louder. Being good marketeers we like to put our best foot forward and that foot should be based in fact. In politics........well sometimes facts seem to be optional. I suggest everyone subscribe to the RSS feed of factcheck.org. They try to take a very scientific look at what the candidates are saying.
For instance today they posted "The Budget According to McCain: Part I".
McCain's attempt to conflate earmark reform with budget cuts is a bit of logical sleight-of-hand (a formal logical fallacy that philosophers call an undistributed middle). McCain's argument is that:
- The McCain economic plan will cut $100 billion of the discretionary budget.
- Past and present earmarks account for $100 billion of the discretionary budget.
- Therefore, the McCain economic plan will cut past and present earmarks.
The argument is seductive. But consider another argument that has exactly the same logical structure:
- Clouds are white and fluffy.
- Sheep are white and fluffy.
- Therefore, clouds are sheep.
Sheep and clouds have some properties in common, but that doesn't mean that they are the same thing. Similarly, earmark cuts and budget cuts may add up to the same totals, but that doesn't mean that the budget cuts will be the result of earmark cuts.
Now that's great analysis. So do yourself a favor, get involved, stay informed and check the facts.